Google offers access to an enormous wealth of information. Sometimes that information can be overwhelming and we need some help to narrow down our search. There are a number of ways you can reduce the number of results and hopefully return information which is relevant to what you need. Here are five top tips to help you find more relevant content through Google.
1. Search for a “specific term”
Put speech marks either side of a specific word or phrase to search for exactly that word or phrase. Many searches can return billions of results. To find what you’re looking for more quickly, use speech marks e.g. “search term”, and Google will include that exact word or combination of words in each page it returns, reducing the number of results.
2. Exclude a website
Use a hyphen to let Google know you don’t want a certain website to be included. For example, if you’d like to find out more about Facebook advertising but want to exclude the Facebook website, add -facebook.com to the end of your search.
3. Search a specific website
You can use Google as a search engine for one website by putting site: and then the name of the site after your search terms. For example, to search this website for the word digital, you could put into the search box: digital site:altaircreative.com.
4. Search articles published at a certain time
Webpages often don’t have information about when they were published so you could read something thinking it’s current and find out it’s actually ten years old. Under the search box on Google, there’s a tab called “Tools”. If you click on that and then open the “Any time” menu, you can search a specific time period and know when your results were published.
5. Try the Advanced Search
Under the search box, click on “Settings” and “Advanced Search”. This will give you a range of options for search with particular parameters, including the ones suggested above as well as others such as language, region and where your search terms appear on the page e.g. in the title, url etc. You can also search particular file types if you are trying to find a pdf or PowerPoint for example.
*These tips are specifically for Google but there are lots of other search engines out there to try. They offer different results and different benefits. On the DuckDuckGo search engine, for example, your search data doesn’t get saved so you won’t get followed around the web and shown adverts based on your search history. Ecosia also has no third party trackers, anonymises all searches within one week, and is very environmentally friendly – it runs on 100% renewable energy and uses its profits to plant trees.